Managing Committee 2016 - 17

Florilegium

A Eulogy to Mr. Alec Alvarez
16th of January this year was Tu B'Shevat the Jewish "New Year of the Trees" which falls on the 15th of Shevat of the Hebrew Calendar. The "Tu" is the hebrew equivalent of 15 namely ?? a combination of the hebrew letters tav and vav. It is the time when most fruit bearing trees in Israel are richly laden with its produce.

It was on this day that Fr. Furtado went on to be with the LORD.

Interestingly in John chapter 15 Lord Jesus Christ said "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" John 15:5.

Fr. Furtado had a very fruitful life in that he taught us many good values and had a profound impact on our lives.

When I last met Fr. Furtado it was at Mount St. Joseph around fifteen years ago. I had gone there on a visit with my brother Abraham Joseph. He was working in the

garden tending to the trees and plants there. My brother mistook him for the "mali", very much like how Mary Magdalene mistook the risen Lord Jesus as the gardener.

It was moving to see a man of his stature employed in such a chore. A man of his intellect could have been a professor in some university teaching Chemistry.

Who said that a gardeners work was any way inferior? After all the good LORD placed man in the garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it.

Fr. Furtado taught me Chemistry in the IX std. and I loved the way he did it. I would take an extra effort in studying the reactions and memorize the chemical equations before class. I still remember what happens when you add conc. sulphuric to potassium permangante KMnO4. I am surprised that I did not pursue Chemistry after my degree, but what Fr. Furtado did was that he really gave me a love for the subject.

Fr. Furtado was a disciplinarian. He wanted us to sing the national and the school anthem with our heart, soul and body. I specially remember the refrain in our school anthem

"My hands and God's what -er the odds" which he sung with much gusto. In the school chapel he would not tolerate a lackadaisical attitude in worship. He would exhort us to "sing so loud that the chapel roof flies off". His preaching was filled with "fire and brimstone" and put the fear of God into you. Yet the boys loved him, and congregated around him when he was on the field. He was athletic. He could kick a football right across the field.

I remember the times when he would walk down the assembly line hiding the cane in the sleeve of his cassok and materialize in his hand to discipline the unruly. Woe unto him who had his hair growing long and if it did fall over the collar he would receive a smack with the cane and be marched off to the enthusiastic barber waiting at a classroom near the refectory.

In my own search for meaning in life I often met with Fr. Futado to talk to him about spiritual things. It was in my IX std that he introduced me to the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a french paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking man. He was a Jesuit priest too. It was a time when I was trying to reconcile my faith with what was taught in the classroom especially in the subject of biology when we were introduced to the concepts of the theory of evolution by natural selection by Darwin. The book he gave me to read at that time was the "Phenomenon of Man". I tried reading the book at that time and was quite impressed with the idea of the"Omega Point" to which the whole of knowable reality as a process converge. Also the concept of the noosphere (a term coined by him) formed by interaction of human mind. The noosphere grows as more and more minds interact. The concept is relevant in the world today as more and more people interact via the internet's social networking sites. Like the geosphere which gave rise to complex molecules and the biosphere the emergence of sentinent beings so the noosphere will in turn promote the evolution towards the Logos, namely Christ who draws all things unto Himself and who transcends the evolving universe.

Jose Joseph
(Class of 1975) Back

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